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beginner forum: for novice and developing blues harp players > Blues scale exploration
Blues scale exploration
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202 posts
Nov 18, 2018
9:06 PM
I read a post on the main forum a couple days ago titled “backwards blues scale”. Iceman commented with a cool idea of making a set of flash cards, a card for each note/tab of the blues scale. Shuffle and deal a riff…

I tried that today, good stuff! It gave me another idea that I just explored. I thought beginners might especially find this helpful. I assume you have learned the blues scale here.

All you need is some tape and being comfortable with taking the covers off one of your harmonicas.

You simply use pieces of tape to disable all of the reeds or reed slots that are not part of the blues scale.

I folded over a small tab of tape to make removal easier. I regularly use tape for installing reeds… just carefully pull the tape back “not up!” when you remove it later. If you pull the tape up you may accidentally lift/bend a reed.

The disabled reeds will force you to explore and focus solely on the blue notes. Obviously, you will be responsible for using the 4 and 3 hole bends for this exercise, luckily the tape does not interfere with those required bends.

Anyway, I just finished an interesting practice session and thought it was worth sharing.

FYI, I tried a few versions… but here’s what I’m recommending.

Tape the top (blow) reed slots 1, 2, 5, & 7-10
Tape the bottom (draw) reeds: 1, & 6-10

That will leave you with the scale including the duplicated D2/B3 and the 6B octave.

It's about time I got around to this.
5656 posts
Nov 18, 2018
11:08 PM
I like it.
I’m not sure I could do without the 2 draw bend and the 1 hole though

This would be interesting to try for 3rd position. I wonder if it would work
The 2 blow is out of play but the 2 draw bend is an important note in 3rd. And the unbent 3 draw is an avoid note but the 3 draw bends are important.
So maybe not so good on the low octave. The middle and top though could work well
Just tape 8 blow, 7 draw and 5 blow and everything else is in play except the blow bends I think.
203 posts
Nov 19, 2018
7:41 AM
Superbee, I'm not surprised that you would be looking at creative reed options. One of the things I liked about this was experimenting with the covers off. It's so easy to move tape around.

I thought the posted minimal scale layout would be particularly good for beginner/intermediate folks. It really does show how great these few reeds are and it urged me to be more creative with them.

It reminded me a little of this lesson by Will Wilde: https://youtu.be/7c16382O1E8

It's about time I got around to this.
214 posts
Dec 20, 2018
12:02 PM
I just stumbled on an interview with Jason Ricci about working scales and going outside the box...

I related his advise to the custom practice harp and thought I should do a follow up here.

I've been working this custom harp into my practice routine for the past 30+ days. It has worthwhile in a few different ways: Awareness and familiarity with this scale. Forced creativity within the restrictions. An appreciation for notes outside of this scale.

As I mentioned in my Nov. 14 post, some of this reminded me of Will Wilde's lesson here.

And now relating the advice of Janson Ricci here:

It's about time I got around to this.

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